The Horse

NOV 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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This opinion column is for topics of importance to the horse industry. If there is a topic you want covered, or if you'd like to submit an article for possible inclusion, contact Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, The Horse Media Group LLC, Beaumont Centre Circle, Suite 100, Lexington, KY 40513; schurch@TheHorse.com. Articles contained therein are not representative of opinions held by either The Horse or the American Association of Equine Practitioners. ACROSStheFENCE TheHorse.com/Across-The-Fence RACHEL ELLIOTT, DVM 74 November 2018 The Horse | TheHorse.com T here are a lot of rescues out there. Most have at their core a deep love for animals and a desire to help those animals be happy, safe, and healthy. This is a difficult type of desire, and sometimes the end result isn't a positive one. The rescue starts out saving large numbers of animals, it receives a lot of good press, people are happy. Then the inevitable happens: Donations slow, inter- est wanes, and maybe someone is disap- pointed with an animal he or she adopted and took into their lives. The rescue fades away and the animals it hoped to save are left to their fates. Copper Horse Crusade—CHC, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit—in Cambridge, Ohio, and founder Julie Copper have been work- ing to rehome horses found at auction, bound for slaughter, for nearly 20 years. Why is this organization able to keep go- ing when others have faltered? Sustainability is one answer. The team adds up all the factors when deciding whether to help a horse. Feed costs, vet costs, training and riding costs, as well as space for boarding are all important considerations. The goal is to find sane, sound, serviceable horses they can place in the most reasonable amount of time. This is why some horses do not get selected by CHC from auction; they are so lame they won't ever be sound, they are too wild to train safely, or they are so ill they will never be well. These are deci- sions that weigh heavily on the CHC staff. Not every horse will get a happy ending. Yet, this is one reason CHC is able to do what it does. Discernment is just as important as the emotional pull of the horses at the kill auction. The staff evalu- ates horses at the sale barn, rides them in the alleyways, and handles them in the pens. If a horse meets CHC's criteria, the organization pays the horse's fee to the kill buyer and gives him a safe ride out of there. Donations occasionally al- low a horse that wouldn't otherwise be chosen to end up at CHC. This can be a bittersweet gift, though; sometimes those horses are very ill and require special care that takes money away from other horses, or sometimes they just cannot be rehomed safely. It is all too easy to look at a beautiful horse and want to help him, but who helps him after purchase at the auction? Resource management is another key to CHC's success. Each horse gets evalu- ated for basic health and lameness upon arrival. Then the staff works with and rides every horse for a minimum of 30 days to ensure they can match that horse with the type of rider that will suit it best. Each horse gets veterinary (including dental) and farrier care; training; and more to help it reach its true potential. How does this happen? Time invested by the team at CHC, reliable farriers and veterinary dentists, and donations from people who can't help in person. All this supports CHC taking a horse that buyers might not look twice at and turning it into the perfect mount for someone. And it has been working. Thus far in 2018 CHC has bought 84 horses at auc- tion or directly from feedlots and moved them on to their new lives. New owners must pay a fee to acquire a horse, but this fee goes to support CHC's work and dedication in feeding the horse, treating him if necessary, training and riding him, and making sure he is ready to rehome. Copper Horse Crusade has made a difference in many lives, both human and equine. Consider looking at horses sustainable organizations such as CHC have to offer. h The Sustainable Rescue Model Julie Copper (pictured), founder of Copper Horse Crusade, has been working to rehome slaughter- bound horses found at auction for nearly 20 years. COURTESY COPPER HORSE CRUSADE

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